April Post 5: Glimmers of Hope 

As I have said before, previous Autism Awareness Month(s) have been hijacked by the “Destroy All Autism” rhetoric of Autism Speaks. Now, we autistics are breaking through. I can see it in a local Kroger store’s Autism Awareness Month display. I was initially put off because it used puzzle pieces in decoration, though those puzzle pieces had words such as “Accept,” “Love” and “Hope.” It looked like your basic puzzle piece poster at first, though. I had to look much closer. With the traditional puzzle piece, you are literally forced to look closer for hope. I found that hope breaking through as many of us autistics grow up, and often find themselves finding about autism later in life, especially if you’re  a woman. Now, I’m turning forty this year, and was diagnosed as a child myself, but at the time of my diagnosis, autism was considered a rare condition. I’ll tell you what changed: the diagnostic criteria was loosened considerably. Now that is why we’re getting a lot more diagnoses these days. But learning that autism actually has benefits, and breaking away from the Doom and Gloom of Autism Speaks, we find our hope peeking out through the pain.

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Easter Symbols

In case you have not noticed, I am a Christian, which means I believe that the biggest event in history was a Roman execution of a carpenter and apparent political upstart. It’s kind of weird that we wear the instrument of execution on our bodies and in our homes. It’s even weirder that we consider the carpenter and upstart the greatest man in history. And the weirdest of all, the fact is, some of the symbols of this event have nothing to do with the event in particular. I mean, what do Crucifixion and Resurrection have to do with candy bunnies and colored eggs?

Let me get to the most important part-the gist of the Gospel of Easter: Everybody sins, and the judgment of sin is death. Everybody dies, too. But the trouble is, death sends people to the realm of Hell. We needed a savior to save us from that fate. Trouble is, everybody sins, so there is no one who can. An innocent had to put on the sins of others to provide a way out, so… God sent his son to die the most brutal death in history, and rise again from the grave, to provide a way to be with God. That’s it. So, why do bunnies, flowers, eggs and bugs figure into the celebration?

Growing up, I originally thought the bunny and the egg were a little silly. I mean, as a Christian, how does any of that fit into the story of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection? There were no mentions of rabbits or eggs in the Bible anywhere. Nobody told me anything as to why until I was in my teens. Then, the prevailing church came to the Easter symbols’ attack. They were originally used as fertility symbols of non-Christian gods. However, these symbols were “Christianized,” or incorporated, into the celebration, given new meanings and new places inside Christianity.

The Holiday Spot  gives a concise meaning into the various symbols associated with Easter. I am perfectly alright with these traditional symbols, given their new meanings of new life. There are even symbols I did not know were incorporated into the celebration, such as the butterfly. The butterfly represents the spiritual metamorphosis the Christian soul and spirit undergo. It is my favorite symbol of Easter and spring. From death into life, the way of God goes.

The Celibate Woman: A Misunderstood Individual

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.. ” -1 Corinthians 7:34 (KJV)

As a single woman of God, I am called to celibacy. Celibacy is simply the lifestyle of abstaining from sexual relations until I am married. It is an easy and happy lifestyle for me. But it did not start out that way…I had to ask God to remove and control my lusts for it to happen. There was also a time I would lament the fact that I did not have a husband. It turns out, having a husband is not a possibility, nor is it a real convenience for me right now. The trouble with celibacy is simply this: there is a lot of fear in our society of single and celibate women, especially since there are not a lot of them. I’m not going to pump out statistics on it, but you can look them up. I’m just happy being single and celibate, leaving dating and courtship behind for a while in order to fully pursue God.

The journey I am currently on began when my mother gave me a direct message from the Lord: that it was best that I not get married at the time, and I am certain because God gives her words to tell people all the time…and they are in line with God’s Word. This ended a period of time when I would lament not having a man to go home to, or take care of me. I thought I needed a man to complete me, because that is what most people say about women…unless, of course, you bring up your disability. Then you are apparently a being without a sexuality, which is just impossible. I had over time asked God to remove lusts I was having because of my lamenting over my singlehood. I look back now and believe this was the biggest cause of my agony.

There is a lot of fear concerning the celibate and single woman, especially when sexual experience is generally encouraged and prized in our society and media, especially from married women. I have noticed that I am not as encouraged to hold babies, nor generally be around them. Do people actually think I hate children? I love children. I love them so much that I do not want them to suffer in life with the autism I could pass on to them as their mother. That is why I do not have children, and that is the thing people do not understand about celibacy. There is usually a very good reason behind a person’s choice in life. The most enlightening question is usually “Why?” Do not fear the celibate woman, my married sister; she is not here to steal your husband.

My celibacy is also a gift from the Lord, to pursue Him with the passion he is pursuing me with. I want to follow Him with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength. I want to leave the world behind, and be involved with the things of God. That is my situation; if the Lord decides to bring me a man and change it, so be it; I am not going to try and change what the Lord has laid out.

The Growing Prayer Wall

A few weeks ago, we saw the movie War Room. Simply put, it’s not actually about soldiers, unless you count soldiers of the cross. It outlined the different tenets of a hot prayer life for God-and who the real enemy is. My mother and I were inspired to create a sort of prayer wall to list our prayer requests on. My mother and I don’t hide any secrets from each other, so this prayer wall is in the living room – strangely, in the innermost wall of our living vicinity. Every day now, we take the prayers lists off the wall and pray for those requests on the

Now, I’m not talking about this for pats on the back. Nobody really receives deserved praise for doing their everyday tasks. We are not perfect in our prayer lives – only recently did we somehow learn that praise and thanksgiving comes with the prayer territory – not just requests. We are still working on these things. We have learned who to pray for, and who the real enemy is. (HINT: It’s not the people you’re praying for. And if you’re praying against somebody, you’re doing it wrong.) Well, let’s just say our prayer lists are growing week by week. There is so much to pray about, and it takes so much time, even for a short-worded woman like me. It’s a privilege to carry all the cares of this world to the Lord of the Universe, a privilege apparently not shared by many, but it can be. I am certain that He hears all of our requests and is working on it even beforehand.

We are praying, believing the Lord can do all He says He can. It feels good to know you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.

Know Your Enemy

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” -Ephesians 6:12 KJV

Anybody remember what the Maginot Line was? It was a series of fortresses that France built after World War I in order to defend themselves against Germany. It was only on the border with Germany. However, when World War II broke out, the Germans invaded France through Belgium and the Netherlands, conquered France and defeated the Maginot Line from inside France itself! Why this history lesson? Because the Christian is at war. Whether they like it or not, we are soldiers in an epic battle with a powerful, cunning enemy, who has invaded our very bodies and minds, and has an ally within ourselves! Who is this enemy and his ally? The enemy is one we all know about. The enemy is Satan. The ally is our own sinful nature.

Here is how most spiritual battles play out: Most people, including Christians, think it is someone who is sinning differently than them, point their fingers at that person, and say: “THIS GUY is the enemy!” They mount bulwarks and laws against that person, paying no attention to the fact that they have a sinful nature too, and they are defeated, not by that “enemy,” but by that ally within themselves, who is operating under the distraction the different sinner provides. Trouble is, that is not fighting the enemy; that is distracting from the enemy. The enemy is Satan, who seeks to steal, kill and destroy; it is not the different sinner. Satan and the sinful nature within ourselves brings us down, but only if we let them. We have a true ally who can come live within us to fight our battles for us.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” –Matthew 7: 3-5 NIV

Now that we got who the enemy and their ally is, how do we fight them? There are several ways. One is through study and obedience to the Word of God, the Bible. That will strengthen you against Satan and sin, so you can fight properly. How can a soldier fight without proper instruction and training in their weapons? So it is with you. The Bible, prayer and belief are your weapons; use them. In prayer and belief, refer all complaints and temptations to the Lord. The Lord will fight your battles for you. It is His job to do the heavy lifting and repairs to your life and the person(s) your pray for. Simply ask, and keep asking, and the Lord will give you the answer.

So, where does this leave the “different sinner” in the Lord’s eyes? The “different sinner” is still a sinner. They are hostages to Satan and the sinful nature, just like you. Your task is to minister to them; that is, to tell the sinner that there is a way out of the pit, and it is through accepting Christ as your Savior. So, go and tell the sinner the way out of sin!

Know your enemy, know your ally, and you can be on the winning side.

Getting Right With God

keep-calm-it-is-time-to-get-right-with-godSometimes one has to wonder whether their blog is more positive or more negative. Strangely, people tend to remember the more negative posts – the rant-filled ones about social injustices. Being a woman hailing from Kentucky with weight issues and autism, plus an ally to other causes, one tends to see a lot to rant about. Trouble is, it can wear on your well-being. I’m not always raging –  far from it. When I see an injustice, I will call it out. With that in mind, my life has been just peachy lately. I owe it all to getting right with God this year.

I have been blessed before – with a lovely apartment that has washer and dryer hookups, furniture, decorations, clothes, plenty of food and even a little dog – but the blessings have been coming back this particular year with increasing frequency.

It started with a goal of reading the Bible daily. It was not easy, and at times it still feels like a long time. The truth is, in spite of my wants, the Bible has become an interesting love letter from God to his people. As an account of the people of God, I am in my Old Testament history section. Eventually (spoiler alert!) Jesus will come on the scene and complete the covenant. I have bragged about going through the Bible ten times, but I remember very little unless it’s one of my favorite sections, unfortunately. I can’t exactly brag about my love for God, but I can certainly brag about God’s love for me. The Bible will certainly help in the process, because it is the word of God. Besides, if God can relentlessly pursue a nation that squanders itself on various neighboring gods and spirits, thereby being adulterous in that matter, how much more will He pursue someone faithful? And, is not everyone the nation of Israel at various times in their life? Putting their faith in different gods, like money, fame, romance and guns? I myself am guilty of this, too. It is not essential to read the Bible to be saved, but just so you know, don’t you want to know what or who exactly you’re putting your faith in?

I’m working on prayer at this time. Listing my needs and wants, getting the courage to ask, and then letting it go – that is my current battle. We recently saw the movie “War Room,” which is about the right way to fight – and who you’re fighting against. HINT: It’s not the people who are aggravating you in your life. It’s the devil who seeks to separate and isolate you from your family, friends and joy – not the people. Please, pray for me as I learn to pray in my life.

We are approaching our one-year anniversary at our current church. It is a small, old-fashioned type of church, independent of any association. We are looking for a pastor right now, but we’re praying that God brings us the right man for the job. Fortunately, I believe that will happen soon. We have enjoyed loving, caring fellowship in our church, and hope to keep doing that in the future.

Please keep my mother and me in your prayers as we continue to grow in faith and love.

Jan. 24, 2016 – Digging Out and Counting My Blessings

Well, it has happened. Winter Storm Jonas has come and gone, leaving over a foot of snow in my location. I know other people can measure their snow in feet, and also, along the coasts, are dealing with storm surges and beach erosion, which translates into flooded streets, like this New Jersey town (shot from yesterday).

Ice forms as the winter storm mixed with high tide causes flooding on Beach Avenue on January 23, 2016 in Cape May New Jersey.

So, since I am dealing with smaller amounts of problems, I have decided to count my blessings. While it might seem glib to say “count your blessings,” I think I need to remind myself of the good things I have, while praying and calling for action to give those blessings to those who do not have them. I’ll start from the beginning:

1) A safe, warm place to hunker down in – I live in a small apartment in Nicholasville, Kentucky. There are homeless wandering the streets of my town right now who have no place to go. It is currently 24 degrees Fahrenheit, AKA -3 Celsius. As I have said before, there is more than a foot of snow on the ground, and only those with backhoes or shovels can remove it. Please, pray for the homeless, especially the ones in your town.

2) Food to eat – There are children who only eat at school when the church does not give them food to eat. I have also seen a lunch program in my neighborhood over the summer, indicating possible hunger there. Please make sure our most vulnerable can find enough to eat.

3) Warm clothes – Yes, I have seen the “People of Walmart” pictures…but what if that is all they have? It’s a possibility.

4) A car to dig out – Some people have to walk in the snow. My mother and I had to do it for three years.

5) Electricity – Thousands are without this in the blizzard zones, and power linemen were unable to restore electricity to them due to the strength of the storm. There are at least 25 deaths attributed to this storm, and it’s most likely electricity.

6) A pet and mother that love me – Many people are alone in this world. I need to consider this blessing more. I have other family that loves me, too.

So, is it really so stupid and pathetic to consider what is good in your life when things seem to be going bad, especially when you consider that others do not have these blessings, and want to take action to give out these blessings?